The United States has been experiencing a tumultuous period in its short history – with its rapid fall from grace as a superpower coinciding with an unprecedented string of disasters that left millions dead. Infighting has rocked its political system to the very core, and with its failing economy it has been forced to slowly cede its military presence across the globe. Despite their lowered status on the world stage, the United States remains committed to maintaining its independence. The Custody will likely not gain a foothold for many years to come.
The Disasters of the 2020’s
Current Economic Position
The United States is one of very few notable nations still remaining outside Custody control (the others being China and Australia). A fallen superpower, the position of the United States on the world stage in 2045 somewhat represents that of Russia itself in the early 2000’s. With essentially no strong allies, and a non-dominant if robust economy, the next president of the United States will be hard pressed to stand against the Custody.
Three major parties are locked in a power struggle on the national level, the Republicans, Libertarians and Democrats, with no one party strong enough to dominate Congress over the other two, and divisions within each party play to further complicate the issue.
: Libertarian Party
Following Rand Paul’s failed 2016 bid for president – and the subsequent election of Hillary Clinton – the Republican Party split in two. The new Libertarian Party is built up of primarily Tea Party conservatives, and was assembled by Paul and his allies. The Libertarians had startling if short-lived success in 2024, were nearly destroyed within four years, and are still recuperating from the Paul administration’s actions today as a growing number of academics exonerate his administration. They are the second largest political party comprising 20 percent of the electorate.
The Libertarian Party opposes annexation by the CCD on principle. The Libertarian Party platform includes nonintervention in foreign affairs but stops short of isolationism, small and limited federal government with the bulk of taxation at the state and local levels, wants to see control of the national guard revert to state governors, supports a military of sufficient size to deter invasion, supports deregulation, opposes entitlement programs, advocates literal interpretation of the Constitution and a restrained judiciary, supports term limits and opposes affirmative action and special treatment for special interest groups. It is interesting that, although they do support tribal independence and respect private property rights of the Native American tribes, they do not support federal tax dollars being spent to enforce these rights, instead expecting state, local and tribal governments to enforce their own laws — which in practice they often lack the resources to do so.
: Republican Party
The Party of Lincoln is the smallest of the three major political parties but currently holds the most power. Fifteen percent of the population identify as Republican. The 2036 election of Track Palin and succession of Frederick Dawson have kept the Oval Office in Republican hands for the past ten years. This is a huge advantage in the current U.S. atmosphere of three-party split in Congress. The Republicans have managed to use the executive branch to appoint four justices onto the Supreme Court and will likely get the opportunity to name the replacement to Chief Justice John Roberts, who has had the longest tenure as Chief Justice in history of the court.
The Republicans are vehemently anti-CCD. They favor strong federal support of American business interests and a hefty national defense to back it up, especially where American business interests run up against CCD friends. They support a platform of positioning the United States as the only alternative to the CCD. They are strong advocates of support of the Monroe Doctrine and foreign intervention. Domestically they support using public funds to further domestic infrastructure and economic interests of private business. They support quasi-privatization of entitlement spending.
The Republicans weathered a party split with the Libertarians and have largely enjoyed the Libertarian support versus the Democrats since the Libertarians lost control of the Presidency in 2028, but there is a growing concern in the party that the Democrat party itself will soon itself divide, where those who are anti Republican but not pro-CCD might align with the Libertarians, making them strong enough to dominate. Additionally the Minutemen are concerned over the tactics and ultimate goals of the Republican’s strong anti-CCD stance and may either run their own candidate or split and throw their support behind another.
The Liberty First Super PAC has been strongly critical of Republican behavior in recent years.
The Party of Andrew Jackson, FDR, Kennedy and the Clintons still remains the largest single party in the United States by a hair, with approximately 23 percent of the electorate identifying as Democrat. The party appears to be in a state of decline, as they continue to lose ground against the Republicans and the Libertarians with each election cycle. They have not held the Presidency since the 2036 election, have not had an opportunity to pick a Supreme Court Justice since 2023, and only hold a plurality in the House and Senate. They took terrible political losses under the Bullock Presidency and have not recovered, and are rarely successful in seeing legislation it introduces pass that does not have the support of either the Libertarians and the Republicans. According to Harris, Zoygby and Gallup, as of 2045, a majority of Americans (58-62%) hold either a “somewhat unfavorable,” “unfavorable,” or “strongly unfavorable” opinion of the Democrat Party.
The Democrat Party of 2045 embraces Socialist principles, most conservative Democrats having left to join other movements. However there are two separate factions in the Party. The further left faction, which is the most vocal, favors annexation by the CCD, believing one-world government to be the culmination of modern liberal principles, and see it as inevitable and that it is better to accept annexation on favorable terms that preserves federal power. The other faction supports limited nationalization of the economy (with exceptions) as a way forward but believes independence from the CCD can be maintained with dialogue and improved trade relations. It is believed (by whom?) that a number of power players in the Democrat Party see annexation as an opportunity to crush rivals and re-emerge as the dominant political party, and that it is better to strive under the thumb of the CCD than to whither and die alone.
More a political movement than a party, the Minutemen are still a strong deciding factor in many elections across the country. Minuteman support can and often does give an otherwise equally matched candidate the last few percentage points he needs to win an election.
Presidents (2016 onwards)
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton and vice president Heath Shuler held office from 2016 to 2024, defeating Rand Paul/Susana Martinez in 2016 and Scott Brown/Chris Christie in 2020. Shuler – a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, former lobbyist, and strong advocate for the free market – was chosen to allay any fears that her presidency would stray too far to the left, after Obama’s far-left ideology paralyzed government for eight years. Those fears were unnecessary, however, as the Democrats took control of the house and senate in 2016, giving her unprecedented political breathing room. Empowered by a no-longer-gridlocked Congress, and with Shuler’s conservative leanings opening up new avenues of negotiation with the Republicans, she was successful in repairing the disastrous Affordable Care Act instated by her predecessor, President Barack Obama.
With great success in her first term, winning the 2020 election was no great challenge. No strong Republican candidates materialized, and she took seventy percent of the popular vote. Outside Republican bastions such as Texas, the political map of the United States was almost completely blue. That same year, Nikolai Brandon – then a political unknown – took the presidency in Russia. Renaming it the Ascendant Soviet Union, he went on a series of diplomatic visits around the world. At that same time, an unprecedented series of natural disasters rocked the globe.
With much of the middle east’s supply of oil suddenly drained through fractures in the earth’s crust, and millions on both the east and west coast dead, the United States economy was in ruins. While corporations were frantically restructuring and manufacturing was experiencing a renaissance in states further inland, Clinton was forced to make a series of tough choices. Food was in short supply, and fuel to transport it even shorter. Historians would later point to her abuse of eminent domain – which resulted in the seizure of thousands of square miles of oil fields – and her failure to successfully organize the transportation food to starving refugees in the northern coastal states as the dual death knells of her political career.
Campaigning on the slogan “There is a solution,” Libertarian Party candidate Rand Paul and his running mate Ted Cruz won the presidency in the 2024 election after a long and brutal campaign against Heath Schuler. Paul inherited a crushing national debt, crumbling infrastructure and an economy hopelessly dependent on an overgrown government. Unemployment was through the roof and Clinton’s abuse of eminent domain had exacerbated the nation’s energy crisis. On the global level America had been out-postured by the rising ASU which was offering once-allies a new, more promising solution to dependence on America.
Paul forced Congress to finally stop kicking the nation’s problems down the road and start enacting real solutions, starting with finally passing and ratifying the Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment, which became the 28th Amendment, forced government to rapidly downsize. Land was returned to corporations and wide swaths of the public sector reverted to private — or closed doors entirely. Foreign aid was drastically reduced and U.S. military funding was severely cut. During this phase of restructuring the active duty component of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force effectively ceased to exist, as their components were restructured into the National Guard and the Navy, with expanded special forces. Defense focused more on its own borders rather than international interests.
Domestically, the nation no longer had the means to support what was left of its own population. Economic activity, energy production and even food production had practically ground to a halt. No one was working and no one was producing. Paul saw the private sector as the vehicle to restart the national economy. It could, and would, pick up and do what big government could not. “We Must All Do Our Part” was his slogan. Social Security, unemployment and welfare funding was cut to the able-bodied. No one who could work, would avoid it. Paul created the Work Education Program for former recipients of these benefits. It was essentially an expanded Job Corps program where people enlisted and worked for private business in exchange for food, education and a small stipend, for a promised period of time. While harshly criticized as legitimized indentured servitude, akin to slavery for for-profit business, it provided a work force for the economy while solving the unemployment problem.
Paul’s policies were a domestic success and an international failure. The ASU became emboldend by the United States’ retreat into itself. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization fell apart and most of its member states were annexed into what became during this presidency the CCD. American economy and industry did eventually restart and some sense of normalcy returned. As one historian would later say, “Paul abandoned the empire to save the republic.”
Domestic success also came at a price. There was a darker side to a smaller federal government that included less regulatory oversight. One noteworthy example was the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ inability to protect many Native American reservations from encroachment, squatters and swindlers, particularly in the energy and minerals industries.
During Paul’s inaugural address he uttered the prophetic statement, “I will make the tough decisions necessary to save this country even if it costs me my second term.” This was quite prophetic. By the end of 2026, Paul, Cruz and anyone associated with their policies were politically toxic. The Libertarians and the Republicans were both soundly thrashed in the midterms, and the remainder of his first term was spent in gridlock with a Democrat congress.
The former governor of Montana turned US Senator, Steve Bullock and running mate Rep. Ana Hernandez Luna (TX) took the White House back for the Democrat party in 2028, crushing Paul and Cruz 445 to 93 in the electoral college . Their message of a return to income equality and economic fairness for the many resonated strongly with minority – turned – majority voters and the working class, many of whom had borne the brunt of recovery on their shoulders.
(INSERT FISCAL FUNNY BUSINESS)
(FOREIGN/CCD CAMPAIGN $$ SCANDAL, INFLATION, RECESSION, DEBT DEFAULT, CHINA PISSED OFF)
(TAIWAN STRAIT WAR)
The general election of 2036 saw the presidency change hands again, this time back to control of the Republican party. Definite dark horse candidate retired Col. Track Palin and running mate Frederick Dawson came up seemingly from nowhere to take the prize on election night away from Luna and Juan Castro in an electoral college nail-biter that came down to the absentee military vote swinging California into Republican hands for the first time since Ronald Reagan was in office.
In another interesting turn reflective of the country’s shifting demographic landscape, Texas, the home state of Luna and Castro, which had gone to the Democrat party in 2028 and 2032 absent a strong Republican candidate, remained Blue even with a relatively solid Republican candidate and a scandal-plagued Democrat party. This remains the case on the national level even though within Texas more right-wing candidates persist, and the Texas Secession Movement gains traction.
Palin was deputy commander of the U.S. Army National Guard Arctic Command before he resigned his commission in 2035. It is said by whom? that he resigned as a result of being denied his general’s stars because of his family’s status as outspoken political enemies to the Bullock administration. At the age of 46, with no funding or former political experience, he secured the Republican nomination due to a weak field, his family’s name recognition and a generally likable character.
He and his running mate campaigned on taking a tough military stance against China. Palin promised to not allow China to use its economic posturing as a pretext for assuming military dominance in the Pacific.
China called Palin’s bluff. One month before Palin took office, China launched a major military offensive against the island of Taiwan.
(TAIWAN STRAIT WAR)
(CHINA BACKS DOWN)
(DAWSON FOLLOWS, FORMATION OF LIBERTY FIRST SUPER PAC)
President Fredrick James Dawson
Formerly Vice-President, Dawson successfully won the White House after two terms as VP with Col. Palin. A month after the win, his VP running mate died of an apparent heart attack. Without a VP, Dawson appointed former President Palin to the office of VP. No one was even sure that it was even Constitutional since Palin had already been elected to two terms in office. Dawson said he’d done it (much to the chargrin of his own Party) to ensure someone didn’t become President without going through an election, and that come 2048 he’d pick a new VP as his running mate. No doubt the Democrats didn’t bother to challenge the appointment because they controlled the House and figured they’d just challenge it if Dawson died, and throw the Presidency to the Speaker of the House. Right now that was Oliver Holden.
Vice President Col. Track Palin
Chief of Staff, Lacey Freiburg
Speaker of the House, Oliver Holden
The United States military in 2045 has been largely downsized. No longer possessing a technological edge, they have long since substituted brute force for guile. The Army and Air Force are little more than ceremonial at this point – with all non-essential soldiers and airmen slowly phased out and assets moved to the Navy and Marines. Special Operations are a huge focus in this newer, leaner US military – with a proportionately huge percentage of the budget devoted to the training and equipment of thousands of special operators.